A system is a set of connected things, parts or elements forming a complex whole. It can also be an organized theme or set of principles or processes according to which something is done. We are a system of mental, physiological, psychological and spiritual subsystems, elements and patterns. Likewise people around us are systems in of themselves. When we interact we integrate some of our elements with others even though it may only be the mental elements of thoughts or the psychological patterns of emotions. Our employers are a business system. Our employer interacts with other business systems just as we do when we purchase goods or services. The business systems all operate within the systems of our cities, states and countries which in turn operate within our global environmental system.
Interacting and exchanging material and energy we share common elements. We are interdependent with the systems around us. The input into one system comes from another. Our paychecks which allow us to go about our lives is an input for us but an output of the system we work for. The food we eat comes from farms, ranches and fisheries from around our local world as well as around the world. When we pay for goods and services, another systems benefits. Our output becomes the input to another system. The elements common to our interacting systems are called commons.
To observe the commons, we need to exercise our pattern recognition capabilities. We need to stand back and see the larger limits of our interactions while looking for elemenTs common to the interactions. At work, we have coworkers who have similar jobs. These jobs may provide some function or service for the business. Inspectors verify incoming or outgoing product is good. Assemblers or operators are those who put things together. Marketing sells the product. Engineers are those who design the product or how to manufacture it. The common elements in this example are the functions of the groups, the product and meeting customer expectations for the product. The business has a common goal of getting product or services to the customer which is supported by each group.
In our lives there are similar patterns. A marriage with kids has the common goal of raising the kids. Materials and goods are shared. The parents provide the service of raising the kids. When married couples adapt differently over time, they may lose sight of their common goals or resources and wind up separating. However, if we can realize the common elements as our lives change, the marriage can likewise evolve and even strengthen. We along with our spouse and children are the system. Individuals without a significant other in their lives interact with friends, coworkers and family. They may focus on their own individual intent, but nonetheless integrate with the systems around them and likewise form a collective system. Over time each individual, couple or family changes in response to the internal and external environments and adapt while stewarding their commons.
We the system, in order to achieve our common goals, act interdependently to bring about higher quality of life while stewarding our resources for our future selves.